As many of you already know, Mitch Ummel passed away recently. For nearly a decade, Mitch and I collaborated on a number of consulting projects largely involving strategic planning and enterprise architecture. For me, Mitch was a perfect partner: always optimistic, always on time, and always insightful. He was the consummate professional.
Mitch loved planning and project management; indeed, he was one of the very few people I have ever met who was willing to commit four years to a large project, bringing it in on time and under budget. Where others taught hard-nosed project management, Mitch practiced it every day.
Those of you who have read Mitch’s articles and reports in various Cutter publications, or have heard him speak at Cutter events, will remember his ability to make complex issues clear and understandable. Even though Mitch worked his way up the technical ladder from junior programmer to CIO and then CEO of his own consulting organization, he never became trapped in the past. On the contrary, Mitch had an almost passionate interest in understanding the latest trends – cloud computing, the Semantic Web, the smart grid, and so forth – and then figuring out how to present those ideas to executives and technology professionals totally wrapped up in their own day-to-day crises.
But in the end, what everyone – family, friends, and colleagues – will remember is the kind of man Mitch was. Mitch was considerate, friendly, patient, and loving. Like most of us, he was often frustrated with the people and organizations he worked with, but never let those frustrations color his behavior; he was always clear, always direct, and always optimistic. Mitch was no saint, but he was the kind of person you wanted to have around in a crisis.
Mitch left behind two children who he loved deeply. Mitch fought a courageous fight against cancer for nearly nine months until succumbing. He will be deeply missed by everyone who knew him.